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Moto X vs. Nexus 5: battle of the Google devices

Moto X vs. Nexus 5: battle of the Google devices

When looking for a higher end Android smartphone that isn’t going to break the bank, you most likely would be choosing between the Moto X from Motorola and the Nexus 5 from LG/Google. With almost equal pricing for the devices and different approaches when it comes to the software and hardware side of things, it might be a little harder to decide which one might be the best bet for you. Check out our comparison below and decide for yourself which smartphone is best for you.

 © AndroidPIT


At first glance, both devices appear to be relatively similar, athlough the Moto X is a tad bit smaller when it comes in 4.7 inches as opposed to the 4.98 inches for the Nexus 5. At the top of both devices you can find front cameras, the speakers for calls, the sensors, and the input to the headphones. The screens are both covered by Gorilla Glass 3 which enhances the scratch resistance of both devices.

The sides are quite different, however: the Moto X includes all the buttons on the right hand side. The Nexus 5 has the volume buttons on the left hand side of the device and the power button on the right hand side. Whether this is a deciding factor for you will ultimately come down to a matter of preference.

Nexus 5 unboxing microUSB speakers
The speaker on the bottom of the Neuxs 5. / © AndroidPIT

The biggest difference between the two when it comes to the design is shown at the bottom of the device. In addition to the microphone for calls and the microUSB charging port, the Nexus 5 also incorporates the speakers at the bottom. In the Moto X, this is found on the back of the device which could possibly worsen the sound quality if your device is laying back down on a table, for example.

Moto X camera
Detailed look at the Moto X LED Flash, camera, speaker, and Logo. / © André Rigo/AndroidPIT

In respect to the materials used in the devices, both use an opaque plastic that is pleasant to the touch, that is however unless you’ve customized your Moto X through Motomaker and gotten one of their many different cases, including wood.

An interesting aspect of the Moto X is the narrow bevel on all sides of the device which optimizes the front surface of the screen. Despite having a slightly larger screen, the Nexus 5 is a bit lighter when it is weighed in. Both devices are well made, sturdy, and aesthetically pleasing and it is hard to determine a clear winner in the design category.


However, when we take a look at the actual screen, things start to change. The Moto X offers an  HD AMOLED screen with a resolution of 1280x720 and a pixel density of 316 ppi. The Nexus 5 sports a Full HD 1920 x 1080 display with a pixel density of 445. It is important to note that all things asides, both these devices still fall short on the display side of things when compared to other devices such as the Galaxy S4 or the LG G2.

Nexus 5 Android 4 4 UI
The Nexus 5 display. / © AndroidPIT

The advantages that the Moto X has when it comes to its display: it offers a rich contract of colors while consuming less energy. However, despite this, the Nexus 5 still retains a much greater sharpness and all things aside, comes out ahead when it comes to the display.

Moto X homescreen
Moto X Display. / © André Rigo/AndroidPIT


The processor that is inside the Moto X doesn’t offer as much oomph as the one in the Nexus 5 . Inside the Nexus 5, you’ll find that Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 Quadcore chip with 2.3 Ghz and in the Moto X you’ll find the Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro Dual-core with 1.7 GHz. In the day to day usage, you may not even notice the big difference between these two processors until they start getting older at which time, the Moto X will be the first to show signs of struggling to keep up. Either way, both devices are very fast and videos, 3D games, and other current generation applications run smoothly on both the Nexus 5 and Moto X.


There is basically no difference between the two devices when it comes to the memory side of things: both the Nexus 5 and Moto X have 2 GB of memory. For internal storage, both come equipped in a 16 and 32 GB variation with neither being expandable via micoSD storage.


Both devices carry the seal of approval from Google and run basically a stock version of Android. In their factory state, the Nexus 5 is currently shipped with Android 4.4. KitKat and the Moto X comes preloaded with Android 4.2.2 Jellybean, however, both devices have had OTA updates to Android 4.4.2 KitKat.

The Nexus 5 comes preloaded with a bunch of software including the Google Experience Launcher, Google Keep, Google Drive, and a ton of other Google Play branded apps. As well, because it is in the Nexus line of devices, it will be among the first devices to receive and upgrade for Android when it is made available from Google.

g2 n5 5
The Nexus 5 launcher: bright and spacious. / © AndroidPIT

Moto X starts to shine on the software side of things. With the Motorola Migrate feature, it makes transferring over data and information a breeze. It also provides a more innovative approach with its active screen system and implementation of hands-free voice control. One of the highlights for the device was that the processor for the Moto X was designed specifically for the voice search engine of the Moto X which allows it to be “always listening” without consuming your entire battery.


The Moto X provides a much more robust camera than the Nexus 5: 10 MP compared to 8 MP. However, the Nexus 5 provides optical image stabilization which helps a ton when shooting photos on your mobile device and makes up for the lack of megapixels. 

The Moto X offers interesting features such as being able to activate the camera simply by shaking the device twice. In addition, the camera on the Moto X has a backlit sensor which offers much better photo quality when shot in low light conditions.

Unfortunately, the Nexus 5 has been plagued with a bunch of camera issues since its launch that have been the target of the majority of updates being rolled out by Google. While the situation has improved, it is a far cry from the quality of the Moto X camera. 

Technical Specs

  Nexus 5 Moto X
Operating System 4.4.2 - KitKat 4.4.2 - KitKat
Display IPS, 4.95-inches, 1920 x 1080 pixels (445 ppi)

HD AMOLED, 4.7-inches, 1280 x 720 pixels (312 ppi)


Qualcomm Snapdragon 800, Quad Core, 2.26 GHz

Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro, Dual Core, 1.7 GHz
Internal Storage 16 / 32 GB 16 / 32 GB 
Battery 2.300 mAh 2.200 mAh

8 megapixels, OIS

10 megapixels
Front Camera

1,3 megapíxeles

2 MP

HSPA, WiFi, LTE, NFC, Bluetooth 4.0 LE

HSPA, WiFi, LTE, NFC, Bluetooth 4.0 LE
Dimensions 137.84 x 69.17 x 8.59 mm 129.4 x 65.3 x 10.4 mm
Weight 130 g 130 g


In general, it can be said that the Nexus 5 is a better device than the Moto X due to the increased capacity of the battery, much faster processor speed, and a larger display with more robust color. However, as we’ve laid out in the comparison, some of these differences might not even be noticeable to the majority of consumers, but may stick out later on in the devices life should you plan on hanging onto to it for a while.

Among the advantages of the Moto X you have a better video and camera quality as well as a much more innovative approach to the software side of things.

All in all, both devices pack a unique punch and are top quality for the amount they’re selling for. Out of the Moto X and Nexus 5, which one would you choose?

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